Lauren Anderson: Rejoice in what is good about downtown Northampton

  • Downtown Northampton in 2018. Gazette file photo

Published: 11/5/2019 9:59:22 PM

Along with others, I have been concerned as I see storefronts close downtown, but a recent letter suggesting downtown is to be avoided made me put finger to keyboard.

Downtown Northampton is one of my favorite places in the world and I’ve lived in six different states in almost every region of the United States. We are so lucky to have a walkable place with distinct stores, wonderful food and diverse people living side-by-side.

I walk, drive and visit stores in downtown almost every day and I have personally never seen any of the negative interactions with homeless folks described by others.

I’ve lived in small towns, but never ones where I start my shopping in local businesses because the items and the prices are so great. Cedar Chest, Pinch, Grapefruit, Essentials, so many others! And not just nicknacks, we buy household tools, shoes and clothing too.

I’ve lived in big cities where driving between home, restaurant and ice cream takes forever and parking is either obnoxious or in large, soulless parking lots. Here, we have the best hot fudge in the world within steps from used bookstores, great coffee, an awesome pita restaurant, concerts and parklets.

I’m also so grateful for the huge support for art that I’ve seen in the two and a half years I’ve lived here. Arts Night Out is always a celebration.

I am also worried about the empty storefronts, but only because I love this city. Some of the suggestions the letter writer made were good, such as taxing absentee landlords who leave a storefront vacant too long because their portfolio is plush enough to not feel the loss of the income.

But let’s rejoice in what is good here!

Lauren Anderson


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